A local drive-in theater, a fixture on the north side of Independence for more than 60 years, opened this spring under new ownership.
B&B Theatres, which has more than 30 locations across the Midwest and opened Grain Valley Marketplace 8 more than a year ago, bought the Twin Drive In off Missouri 291 earlier this year.
“We’re really, really excited about it,” said Bobby Bagby, the company’s vice president of marketing.
There are upgrades. The movie industry has mandated that theaters switch to a digital format – an expensive change – and there’s been widespread concern that a lot of drive-ins wouldn’t make it. The Twin was headed that way.
“They (the owners) approached us and said, ‘We just can’t do this,’” Bagby said.
B&B, which is based in Liberty, agreed to buy it and has installed the digital equipment. “That was the very first thing we did when we bought it,” she said. Bagby also said the employees were kept on.
This holiday weekend is the grand rollout, and she said other changes include a point-of-sale facility that takes debit and credit cards. There’s a wider range of concessions, from hamburgers and fries to fried pickles and corn dogs. Buck nights – some concessions for $1 – are on the way.
“We’re just making lots and lots of changes,” she said.
Every show is a double-feature. This weekend its “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Neighbors” on one screen and “Blended” and “Godzilla” on the other.
“Our goal,” Bagby said, “is to show first-run movies at the drive-in.”